Alternate history or alternative history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. It can be variously seen as a sub-genre of literary fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction; different alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. It is sometimes abbreviated AH. Another occasionally used term for the genre is "allohistory" (literally "other history").
Since the 1950s, this type of fiction has to a large extent merged with science fictional tropes involving cross-time travel between alternate histories or psychic awareness of the existence of "our" universe by the people in another; or ordinary voyaging uptime (into the past) or downtime (into the future) that results in history splitting into two or more time-lines. Cross-time, time-splitting and alternate history themes have become so closely interwoven that it is impossible to discuss them fully apart from one another. "Alternate History" looks at "what if" scenarios from some of history's most pivotal turning points and presents a completely different version, sometimes based on science and fact, but often based on conjecture. The exploration of how the world would look today if various changes occurred and what these alternate worlds would be like forms the basis of this vast subject matter.
In French, Italian, Spanish and German, alternate history novels are called uchronie. This neologism is based on the prefix u- (as in the word utopia, a place that does not exist) and the Greek for time, chronos. An uchronie, then, is defined as a time that does not exist, a "non-time." This term apparently also inspired the name of the alternate history book list, uchronia.net.
Read more about Alternate History: Definition
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